Are tri-colored cats always female?

You are fascinated by felines with multi-colored fur. In fact, you are thinking of adopting one but prefer it to be a male. Is this your case? Then you are probably wondering to what extent it is true that tricolor cats are always female.

Between urban legends and false myths, you never know what we should believe, so  we want to tell you the reality about three-colored cats.

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How is the color of a cat’s hair determined?

Don’t be fooled: not all cats are brown. Not even at night. Pussies have three basic hair colors: black, white, and orange.  The rest of the tones are formed from the combinations and the degradations of this triad.

The color of a cat’s hair is closely linked to its sex chromosomes. It is in these structures, which are part of the nucleus of cells, that genes are stored. Felines have 38 chromosomes: 19 are inherited from the mother and 19 from the father.


Heredity, key in the tonality of the feline coat

Like the rest of mammals, cats have two sex chromosomes: X and Y. As in humans, the mother provides the first, while the father can provide both one and the other. If the combination is XX it will be a female, but if it is XY it will be a male.

Now, the colors black and orange occur only with the X chromosome. A cat, having two chromosomes of the same type, has genes for both colors, so it can express both tones . But a male cat only has one X chromosome, so it can only be either orange or black, but not both.

In turn, the color white is not linked to sex. Let’s say that it plays for free and it can appear or not, both in males and females. That is why a feline can present this tricolor coloration: two colors granted by its genetic inheritance and white, which has manifested independently.

However, this exotic combination is not always revealed in the same way. There are different types of cats of three colors.


Different types of tricolor cats

Three-colored mininas are known as calico or tortoiseshell cats. It is common for their fur to be a combination of orange, black and white. The percentage of each color varies in each specimen.

On the other hand, the characteristics of the type of coat, whether it is striped, smooth or dotted, depend on the genetic inheritance of the feline; that is, of the characteristics of their parents.

According to the patterns of their coloration, tricolor kittens can be of the following types:

  • Calico or Spanish cats: white predominates on the abdomen, chest, chin and legs. The black and orange colors appear as spots on their fur. Sometimes black tends to express itself lighter, almost like a gray.
  • Tortoise: the most striking thing is that the orange and black colors are mixed asymmetrically. They have a predominance of black and white is very scarce. The shades are usually diluted in lighter colors.
  • The tricolor brindle: they are halfway between the previous two. Their fur follows a pattern similar to that of tigers. They indistinctly express the three basic colors that are always present.

Although the prevalence of the female sex in this type of coloring is very high, the truth is that there can also be males with these three colors .


So are there tricolor males or are they always females?


Although they are very difficult to find, tricolor male cats do exist. It is an anomaly linked, of course, to the chromosomes. These felines have three sex chromosomes instead of two . By having an XXY combination, it may be the case that its two X chromosomes provide the orange and black colors as it happens with females.

This anomaly is known as Klinefelter Syndrome and cats that have it are usually sterile. However, it is a very rare ailment. The usual thing is that, if we find a cute three-colored kitten, it is a female. Anyway, tell us, do you like these exotic fur cats for something special? Have you ever come across one of these tricolor males?



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